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Vignal, Gregory

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by Dave Usher

Date of Birth - 19/07/81
Nationality - French
Position - Left Back
Games - 20
Goals - 0
Club Hons (Lpool) - League Cup 2001, FA Cup 2001, UEFA Cup 2001
Intnl Hons - French Youth/U21 Caps
Other Clubs - Montpellier, Bastia (loan), Rennes (loan), Espanyol (loan), Rangers (loan), Portsmouth, Lens, Southampton (loan), Birmingham

When Gerard Houllier signed French youngster Vignal, it was regarded something of a coup, as a whole host of Europe's top club's (including PSG and Inter Milan) were in the hunt for the talented teenager's signature.

Houllier told Vignal on his arrival that he should not even think about making the first team for two years, but such was the young Frenchman's progress that he had established himself as a key squad member within a few months, and found himself on the substitutes bench for both the FA and UEFA Cup finals.

He made his reserve team debut against Manchester United at Anfield, and for the first 20 minutes was given a bit of a chasing by Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, but after that settled down and produced an impressive performance.

His first involvement with the senior squad came as an unused substitute in the 2-1 reversal at White Hart Lane in Nov 2000, and his debut came in the FA Cup tie with Rotheram the following January, when he appeared as a sub for the last fifteen minutes on the left of midfield.

His first start came against West Ham, and he produced an assured display that suggested big things were to come from him. Another good display followed the next week at Sunderland, and although Jamie Carragher returned to the side for the next game, Gregory had arrived.

The following season saw Greg experience mixed fortunes. Having forced his way into the side and forged an impressive partnership down the left flank with John Arne Riise, he suffered a broken foot in the shock Worthington Cup defeat to Grimsby. It was wrongly diagnosed initially, and that cost him five months on the sidelines.

He was unable to force his way back into the side after that, and with Djimi Traore returning from a loan spell at Lens to move ahead of him in the left back pecking order, Vignal returned to his homeland on loan to Bastia.

He returned the following summer and played in the pre-season fixtures, before again being sent out on loan to a French club, this time to Rennes, only to fall out with the coach there and return to Melwood.

His return was short lived however, and after just one behind closed doors friendly for the reds, he was swiftly sent back out on loan to Spanish side Espanol.

Even a change in management didn't help Vignal, as Rafa Benitez wasted no time in sending him away on another loan deal, this time to Glasgow Rangers. He failed to agree a permanent deal with the Scottish side however, and at the start of the 2005/06 season he signed for Portsmouth before going on to have spells at Lens, Kaiserslauten, Southampton, Birmingham City, Atromitos and finally Dundee United, for whom he failed to make a single appearance before being released.

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